On Thursday’s episode of Up Late, Ben Harvey reveals why Mark McGowan c*ck-blocked Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese.
The opposition leader landed in Perth moments after the hard border came down on Thursday, seizing his opportunity to head west for the first time in almost a year.
WA looms as a key battleground in the upcoming federal election, with Labor targeting the Liberal-held seats of Pearce, Hasluck and Swan – all on margins of less than six per cent.
“Anthony Albanese made good on a long standing promise to be on the first plane to Perth when the border came down,” Harvey says.
“He landed a bit after midnight and gets a few hours’ sleep before his first media event in WA in a couple of years… and McGowan c*ck-blocks him by holding a press conference at exactly the same time – 8.30am.”
During McGowan’s press conference, when asked about the unfortunate scheduling, the Premier said: “I’ll be meeting with Anthony later on toady… obviously I don’t know when he is scheduling his media conferences.”
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Harvey wasn’t having any of that.
“Bullsh*t – that was a power play to show who really runs this town,” Harvey quipped.
“But then the premier was on message like the good Labor boy that he is. It was a classic McGowan press conference.”
McGowan went on to describe Albanian as a “decent person”.
“Well he’s been in parliament for 25 years… he’s a fundamentally decent person, he’s very likeable, very capable, very hard working,” McGowan said.
Mr Albanese will hope the large swings to Labor seen at last year’s WA election – when the Liberals were reduced to just two seats – can be replicated federally.
The opposition leader said a Labor government would have more members of cabinet from WA.
“The WA Liberals are suffering from losing key personnel in Julie Bishop, Mathias Cormann and Michael Keenan,” he told The West Australian on Thursday.
Scott Morrison has never been a regular visitor to WA. Now there aren’t those senior voices in the government from WA and I want more members of the caucus, which will give WA a stronger voice.”
The prime minister had hoped to head west following the easing of the hard border, but Mr Morrison is quarantining in Sydney for a week after he contracted COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg denied the government had ignored funding for Western Australia.
“That’s just a bald-faced lie, it’s bollocks, it’s political at its worst,” he told Perth radio station 6PR on Thursday.
“We have dispensed more than $14 billion to the people of Western Australia since the start of COVID.”